A few weeks ago, LifeMiles started its first promotion of 2021 for miles purchased. This is a reminder as the action expires today. So this is your last chance to take advantage of this offer.
Buy LifeMiles for 1.25 cents each
The current LifeMiles promotion for miles purchased is valid until Thursday, February 25, 2021:
- The publicly available promotion offers a bonus of up to 150%
- The special OMAAT promotion offers a bonus of up to 165%
OMAAT readers can register here with their LifeMiles number and can then purchase miles with the additional bonus. Members can purchase between 1,000 and 200,000 miles (pre-bonus) with a 165% bonus.
The special thing about this promotion is that you can receive the 165% bonus even if you only buy 1,000 miles. In the past, many promotions had to buy large amounts of miles to unlock the largest bonus.
LifeMiles typically sells miles for ~ 3.3 cents each. So when you buy miles with a 165% bonus, you pay only 1.25 cents per mile purchasedwhat is a fixed value. You can purchase a maximum of 530,000 LifeMiles for $ 6,600 with this promotion.
The purchase of LifeMiles counts as a flight purchase
LifeMiles processes miles purchases directly, which means that buying miles with the program counts as flight expenses. Therefore, you should consider one of the following cards for your purchase as they offer the following bonus miles for airline spending:
If you pay with The American Express Platinum Card® then you will earn 5x points. I estimate these points at 1.7 cents each, which for me corresponds to a further return of 8.5%. That means the actual cost for each mile goes from 1.25 cents to 1.14 cents, which is an even better value (this is not cash in your pocket, but points in your “pocket” based on my rating) .
Should You Buy LifeMiles?
First, let me address this issue in a more general way. Avianca is a member of the Star Alliance, which means you can redeem LifeMiles on all Star Alliance airlines (which is what makes the program so great). To name a few examples of one-way premium cabin redemption rates (there are no fuel surcharges on awards):
- USA to Europe in Business Class costs 63,000 miles
- USA to Europe in first class costs 87,000 miles
- US to Southeast Asia in Business Class cost 78,000 miles
- USA to North Asia in first class costs 90,000 miles
Sometimes LifeMiles have promotions where the redemption rates are even better.
With a specific use in mind, this LifeMiles promotion can be of great value, regardless of whether you are traveling with All Nippon Airways or Lufthansa First Class or traveling in business class with countless airlines.
I recently redeemed LifeMiles for ANA First Class
Everyone has to determine the numbers for themselves and decide whether it makes sense or not.
Note that in some cases LifeMiles may not be able to access the same award availability as Star Alliance partners, good or bad. In some cases LifeMiles does not have access to affiliate rewards that other airlines have access to, and in other cases the opposite is true.
For this reason, I always recommend doing some dummy award searches before purchasing miles so that you can get an idea of how award availability fits your needs.
I recently redeemed LifeMiles for Lufthansa Business Class
But isn’t Avianca in Chapter 11?
In May 2020 Avianca applied for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. What does this mean for LifeMiles? It’s worth noting that the LifeMiles frequent flyer program is a stand-alone company (although the program is majority-owned by the airline) and LifeMiles is not part of the bankruptcy process.
I’ve written in the past about what happens to airline miles when an airline goes bankrupt, as applies here:
- At the moment it should be as usual to earn and redeem LifeMiles
- In the event that Avianca did not emerge from bankruptcy, it is possible that the LifeMiles program in Latin America could live on given how popular it is and if it is outsourced
- In this case, however, do not expect LifeMiles to continue to have access to the Star Alliance rewards section as the program is no longer affiliated with any Star Alliance airline
More specifically, the airline received hundreds of millions of dollars in a loan. In my opinion, there is therefore no serious risk for the airline of going out of business in the next few months. Of course, things can always change, but that’s where things are from now on.
Obviously, there is some risk here with buying miles, as there is always, especially without immediate use.
LifeMiles offers a bonus of 165% on purchased miles exclusively for OMAAT readers (registration required here) compared to the publicly available bonus of 150%. Best of all, the 165% bonus applies regardless of the number of miles purchased. So you don’t have to buy a large amount to get this bonus.
It’s important to note that we’ve seen a couple of 200% bonuses over the past few months which have been the best bonuses we’ve seen from LifeMiles. That being said, this is about as good as the bonuses on LifeMiles purchased, and I understand the program has no plans to offer another 200% bonuses in the near future.
Earning LifeMiles for 1.25 cents each is potentially a great deal, especially when you factor in the credit card rewards, which could lower the real cost even further.
My general opinion is that if you couldn’t use them in the next few months, I wouldn’t buy miles. That being said, if you have a use for them it is a great deal.
Everyone has to decide for themselves. There is a risk that miles can always be devalued etc, but this is a solid business. And for the record: I won’t get any setbacks if you buy miles here.
If you’ve thought about this promotion but haven’t made a purchase, this is your last chance.
Are you planning to purchase LifeMiles with a 165% bonus?